Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some Non-book Reviews or Book Non-reviews?

I have discovered one of my weaknesses as a book reviewer and it is a fairly major one, I only review books I really like because I do not care enough for the books I disliked to write about them. To make up for this deficiency, here a some “non-reviews”...I suppose they are still reviews, but they will be very short and a little vague.

Firstly I will say, thanks to my new job and the fact that I am tucked back in a corner and rarely disturbed, I am free to listen to audiobooks (while working, of course) most of the day. In the past two weeks I have listened to 5 of them.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. It has been years since I read this book, but it is still strongly in my mind as one of my least favorite books ever. Perhaps my dislike is somewhat misplaced because I dislike it almost entirely because the people, in their relating to the main character (a mute), or, more accurately, their lack of relating to him, are so thoughtless as to his needs. But the world is sometimes cruel and people often don't seek to understand and put effort into their relationships. So though this book may have conveyed some truth about the cruel aspects of our world, I did not like it because it left me with a very “bitter taste” in my mouth and I do not think I will ever read it again.I do not remember this one clearly enough to give it a content rating.

Another very unenjoyable book was Toilers of the Sea. Now, despite their tediousness (I refuse to read abridged books) and, in The Hunchback of Notre Dame's case, lack of a happy ending, I very much enjoyed Les Mis. and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The Toilers of the Sea is just as tedious or more so than the aforementioned books but has an ending leaving you feeling there is a pointlessness to life, a belief in broken promises, true love fought for does not win (okay, the love was a little one-sided, so it could be viewed more as an obsession than love), and just with an overall bad feeling. Apparently Hugo was in exile while writing this book, so maybe that was one reason for it unredeeming tragedy. I do not remember this one, either, well enough to give a content rating.

Recent audiobooks listened to which I will not be writing full-length book reviews of: Treason by Orson Scott Card and House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo.

I suppose, taken on its own Treason is actually a decent book, it's quite interesting and original but because Card has written two of my favorite books (Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow), I was expecting more. Treason is a planet seemingly without any hard metals (thus the treasonous cannot build ships to get off-world) on which The Empire put “the cream of the crop” of humanity because they were seeking to overthrow the established order. After being there for thousands of years some of the families have taken their predecessors gifts to the extreme. The geneticists have engineered a people who can regenerate and recover from almost any wound (to the point where completely chopping off their head or totally burning them is the only sure way to kill them). The geologists have grown to understand things so thoroughly at their most basic levels that they can control earth and DNA with their minds. And others, I'm not sure what their forbearers occupation was, have learned to control the flow of time. I guess one thing I disliked is just that it is a little strange, the main character is a “Rad” (radical regenerate), which means he not only regenerates all his parts but begins to grow others. When we meet him as a late teenager he has begun to grow breasts and soon begins to grow an arm out of his shoulder. As well as being a little odd, besides the main character, you don't really get to know anyone, its a sort of lonely book. The book vaguely reminded me of Dune, so if you liked that then you may like this. As I said, despite its weaknesses, it is quite interesting. 

I would give Treason a rating of PG-13 for violence, sexuality, some language, and disturbing situations.

House of Dark Shadows has the makings of a good juvenile book: mystery, a linen closet which transports you to a school locker, magic doors that lead to other worlds, a bazaar house, a boy determined to right a wrong and, yet, though the end of the first book ended on a cliffhanger, I am not in a hurry to read/listen to the next one. I didn't really get attached to the characters, didn't really become invested in their adventures, I suppose those are its greatest downfalls, and those are some major downfalls to have. 

I would rate this PG for violence and disturbing situations.